HOA Domain names are one of the most important things you will buy for your homeowner’s association website. The domain name represents how members will find your HOA’s website and is most likely uniform to the actual name of your association. For example, your HOA may be called “Silver Hills Estates” and your domain could be “silverhillsestats.com”. On the surface, domain names seem pretty straightforward – however – when you actually have to manage one you may find they can be quite confusing. Here are some tips to help better understand all that comes with a domain name.
First though, a few definitions:
Registry: The Organization that manages domains, creates extensions, sets rules, and oversees and gives accreditation to registrars. Verisign, for example, is a domain registry.
Registrar: The domain registrar is the company that manages the registration of your domain. GoDaddy, for example, is a well-known registrar.
Registrant: The person or entity that registers a domain name. If you bought a domain name to use for your HOA that means you are the registrant.
WHOIS: A record of a domain name containing important information like expiration date, registrant information, etc.
Choosing an HAO Domain Registrar
There are many domain name registrars to choose from and most web hosting companies also provide domain name registration. It is important you choose a reputable domain registrar as many of these companies can go out of business without warning leaving you in the dark and creating a huge hassle to regain control of your domain. So a small, local, mom and pop shop is NOT a good place to register your domain. It is also a good idea to register your domain at a different location than where you host your website. You can modify your nameservers to point to your hosting account – they do not have to be the same company. Some good places to register a domain name are Gandi, GoDaddy or Namecheap. We prefer Gandi.
HOA Domain Expiration
All domain names come with an expiration date and that date is usually one year from the date of registration. Most domain name registrars will allow you to register your domain for more than a year. If you have the money and know your HOA will be around for some time, it is a good idea to register your domain for more than one year. This way you do not have to worry about renewing the domain every year.
Another good idea is to make sure your HOA’s domain name has an active credit card on file and set your registration to auto-renew. That means that if you forget to renew the domain it will be automatically done on your behalf.
HOA Domain Name Contact Information
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of registering your domain name as it legally ties the domain name to you or your HOA. If you get this information wrong you can have difficulty accessing the domain or at worst you could lose it. There are three types of domain contacts: Registrant, Administrative, and Technical. You can use different contacts for each one if you like – for example, if you have an IT company helping you they could be the Technical contact. Make sure your address, phone number, and email address are correct.
The most important contact field is your email address as this is where any domain notifications and transfer authorizations will be sent. It is also VERY important to make sure your contact email address does NOT have the same extension as your domain name. For example, if your domain name is “silverhillsestats.com” you do NOT want to use a contact email address of ji*@sl****************.com. Instead, use a personal email like ji******@gm***.com as your contact email.
Checking your HOA Domain Name
Not sure who registered your HOA’s domain name? Want to check the contact information on your domain? You can do this for free by visiting https://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name= and entering your domain name into the field. This will give you all the important information you need to make sure your domain is properly registered.
Have questions about your Homeowner’s Association domain name or need help with something domain related? Contact us and we can help.